Woman Arrested for Stiffing Botox Doc

Woman arrested by Florida police for ditching her Botox bill last week.

June 20, 2008— -- After eluding authorities for more than a week, a Florida woman who allegedly dashed out on her $1,225 Botox bill was arrested Thursday. Police said they have identified the Botox bandit, who left a fake name at the clinic, as 23-year-old Kellie Thomas.

Thomas, who now faces charges of grand theft, allegedly told the receptionist at the Port St. Lucie cosmetic surgery clinic that she had left her credit card in the car, and then drove off without paying her bill.

Dr. John Porcaro at Porcaro Hair and Cosmetic Surgery told ABC News he became suspicious when Thomas told him that she had to go out to her car "to get her emergency credit card," particularly because he had quoted her the price a week earlier.

"I went out of the office looking for her, because it sounded like a suspicious story. She knew darn well how much it was going to be," he said. But by the time Porcaro got outside, "She had taken off."

Port St. Lucie police arrested Thomas in her Stuart, Fla., home Thursday. According to the police report, authorities were tipped off by citizen after the "before and after" photos were released to the media.

The report said that Thomas admitted she had received a Botox treatment at Porcaro Hair and Cosmetic Surgery. According to the report, she told authorities that she did not have money at the time but was planning to pay the clinic back, although "she never made arrangements."

Thomas could not be reached for comment, and a man who picked up the phone at her parents' house refused to comment on the matter or be identified. Police said they do not know whether Thomas had hired an attorney.

Despite being arrested on one count of grand theft, Thomas seemed more concerned that people would find out she'd used Botox, according to police spokesman Robert Vega.

"She was very concerned that her boyfriend would find out about the Botox treatment," Vega said.

Vega -- who has worked at the Police Department for seven years -- said he knew of no cases of anyone bailing on a Botox payment before.

"It's definitely the first time since I've been here," Vega said. "It happens all the time where people purchase an item or a beverage and then skip out on the bill. But this is the first time, definitely the first time since I've been here, where we've had somebody leave without paying for a Botox service."

Dr. Pocarro called the arrest a "bittersweet resolution."

"We want to maintain a nice trusting relationship with patients and unfortunately the relationship I thought I had with this patient was not what I thought it was." Dr. Pocarro said.

Thomas allegedly had given a fake name to the clinic, identifying herself as Ashley Parker, a 22-year-old from another state. The clinic did not obtain a copy of her driver's license to verify her identity -- something that Porcaro admitted was a mistake.

"It's partially our responsibility for not having executed the normal safety measures that one would ordinarily insist on," Porcaro said, referring to the clinic's failure to obtain a copy of her photo identification. "She gave some lame excuse to the receptionist that she just moved from South Carolina, and during the move she'd lost her license. It should've been a tipoff, because she had driven herself to the office both times."

But from now on, Porcaro said, they won't be taking any chances.

"We've already instituted a policy. If someone doesn't leave a photo identification at the time they register, they won't be seen. Plain and simple. No license or photo ID, they're not seen, period."

But Porcaro wished it didn't have to be this way. He said his staff usually takes the patients who come in at "face value." But perhaps that is not the best way to deal with people looking to change their faces.

"It's unfortunate that we have to resort to these kind of measures," Porcaro said. "It's supposed to be a fun process for the patient and for me."

While injecting small doses of the cosmetic form of botulinum toxin into patients' faces might not be everybody's idea of fun, Porcaro said it's his passion.

"I love to see patients come back after treatment I've given them," he said. "It's not just a question of cosmetic improvement, it improves the quality of their life, it improves their self-esteem, it improves how they react to family and friends, and how they see themselves. It's a reincarnation."